Find out all about grapeseed extract, including what it does, the benefits to taking it and how much you might need
Written by Beth Gibbons on January 18, 2019
Reviewed by Carolina Brooks on January 27, 2019
What is grapeseed extract and what does it do?
The healing power of grapes has been recognised since ancient times, and harnessed to treat a variety of conditions, from asthma to skin conditions.1,2
Grape seeds, in particular, contain high concentrations of antioxidant compounds such as flavonoids, catechins and proanthocyanidins. These have been shown to protect against damage-causing free radicals and your enhance body’s ability to fight them. They also support the body’s wound healing process and may inhibit tissue damage and inflammation.3,4
You can find grapeseed extract as either capsules or as grapeseed oil.
Benefits of grapeseed extract
What does grapeseed extract do in the body?
Grapeseed extract is rich in a whole host of beneficial plant chemicals called polyphenols, for example quercetin and resveratrol. Each of these has an antioxidant effect in the body, working to protect our cells from free-radical damage.5
Here’s how this powerful combination of polyphenols can support your health:
It can support your heart: a 2016 review of 16 clinical trials in Medicine concluded that grapeseed extract has a beneficial impact on blood pressure, particularly in younger or overweight people.6 Experts say antioxidants help protect cells from oxidative stress, which can narrow blood vessels and contribute to high blood pressure.7 A 2011 study by the US Yale School of Medicine found that grapeseed also helps lower your heart rate.8
It may protect your brain as it ages: grape polyphenols can help protect cognitive function by preventing neurological damage caused by free radicals, according to a 2017 study published in Frontiers of Pharmacology. Older adults who took 150mg of grapeseed extract daily showed improved attention, language and memory after 12 weeks.9
It can improve blood flow: the active compounds in grapeseed extract appear to improve circulation. A 2013 Japanese study found that when healthy women were given grapeseed extract and then asked to sit still for six hours, they had less bloating and leg swelling than the control group.10
It can reduce inflammation: grape polyphenols – 60-70% of which are found in the seeds – can reduce levels of chronic inflammation in the body, according to a 2014 study in Nutrients. The researchers suggested that they do this by reducing the number of harmful free radicals, and by modulating the body’s normal inflammatory response.11
How much grapeseed extract is safe to take?
In studies, participants have safely taken doses of 300-800mg a day for 8-16 weeks, and these have been well- tolerated.12
Grapeseed extract shouldn’t be taken by children, or pregnant or breast-feeding women, as there are not enough studies to establish safety in these groups. People taking blood-thinning medication or drugs to lower blood pressure should also avoid it, as grapeseed extract may increase the activity of these medications.13
If you’re taking anti-anxiety or asthma drugs, muscle relaxants, pain medications, hormone medications or anti-depressants, seek medical advice before taking grapeseed extract.
What are the side-effects of taking grapeseed extract?
Side-effects are uncommon, but can include:14
- itchy scalp
- stomach ache
- sore throat
Stop taking grapeseed extract if you notice any of these side-effects, and seek advice from your GP or another health professional.
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.
1. Singh CK, Liu X, Ahmad N. Resveratrol, in its natural combination in whole grape, for health promotion and disease management
2. University of Rochester Medical Center. Grape Seed Extract
3. El-Beshbish HA, Mohamadin AM, Abdel-Naim AB. In Vitro Evaluation of the Antioxidant Activities of Grape Seed (Vitis vinifera) Extract, Blackseed (Nigella sativa) Extract and Curcumin
4. The Ohio State Universtiy. Grape Seed Extract Help Speed Up Wound Recovery, Study Suggests
5. Yang J, Xiao YY. Grape phytochemicals and associated health benefits
6. Zhang H, et al. The impact of grape seed extract treatment on blood pressure changes: A meta-analysis of 16 randomized controlled trials
7. Grossman E. Does increased oxidative stress cause hypertension?
8. Feringa HH, et al. The effect of grape seed extract on cardiovascular risk markers: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
9. Calapai G, et al. A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Clinical Trial on Effects of a Vitis vinifera Extract on Cognitive Function in Healthy Older Adults
10. Sano A, Tokutake S, Seo A. Proanthocyanidin-rich grape seed extract reduces leg swelling in healthy women during prolonged sitting
11. Georgiev V, Ananga A, Tsolova V. Recent Advances and Uses of Grape Flavonoids as Neutraceuticals
12. Caroline Hill. Healthline. 10 Benefits of Grape Seed Extract, Based on Science
13. As above
14. Joseph Nordqvist. Medical News Today. What are the benefits of grape seed extract?